AVOIDING ISSUES WITH AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS

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Most people in South Africa have been exposed, at one stage or another, to aggressive driving. Aggressive driving could be in the form of speeding, following too closely, frequent or abrupt lane changes without signalling, passing on the shoulder or unpaved portions of the roadway and, of course, the harassment of motorists who fail to get out of their way, or impede them in any way.

Aggressive driving also manifests itself where drivers fail to stop at red lights and stop signs, impatiently, and without caution, try to pass slow vehicles or stopped school busses. Add to this, driver impairment due to the use of alcohol or drugs. In many instances, they may verbally or physically threaten another driver, thus exacerbating into road rage.

There are a few actions that we can take, when faced with a potentially volatile situation, in order to protect ourselves and our families from road rage conflict situations. Hopefully, by applying these principles, you too, will arrive at your destination unscathed.

Firstly, and most logically, we should attempt to remain calm and put our pride in our back pocket. Attempting to speed up, brake suddenly or hold your position in the travel lane will only add fat to an already volatile situation.

Avoid eye contact and Ignore rude or harassing gestures and name calling; and please do not return them as the aggressor will interpret this as a challenge.

If you are being followed by an aggressive or threatening driver, please do not stop and get out of your vehicle. The last thing you want is to be assaulted and you can never know what weapon he may have at hand, so simply drive as calmly as possible to the nearest police station.

Another reasonably safe place to stop is at a service station as they also have security cameras positioned all over the service area. Hopefully witnesses will give him pause to reflect on the consequences of his actions.

Should you witness an accident caused by an aggressive driver, please do not stop close by to assist, as he may still be aggressive and could be angered further by the accident.

The road rage hotline number is 0861 400 800.

Should you phone this hotline, please be sure to have the following information available:

(As derived from the arrive alive website)

  • The name of the Province in which the incident took place.
  • In Built-up Areas and Cities and Towns : the name of the City or Town and Suburb as well as the Name of the Street or Junction between two Streets
  • On Inter-City and Inter-Provincial Roads : The number of the road and the distance to the nearest City or Town with a direction. (For example : National Route N3 between Villiers and Harrismith, approximately 13 kilometres south of Villiers.)
  • The Date and Time of the Incident .
  • Detail of the Vehicle observed : Registration number, make, model (if possible) and colour.
  • Detail of what happened.

Each life is precious, whether you are a driver or a passenger, thus we need to stay vigilant and situationally aware at all times when driving. Stay safe out there.

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